ABOUT ME

 

Nick Ragone is an author, attorney and public relations executive in New York City. He earned a bachelor’s degree in history and political science from Rutgers University, and is a graduate of the Eagleton Institute of Political Science at Rutgers University (undergraduate) and the Georgetown University Law Center.

He is the author of three books: Essential American Government, Everything American Government, and President's Most Wanted. Nick is a regular contributor to the Fox News Channel and Fox Business, the PIX11 Morning Show, and has a weekly appearance on the popular Raph Bailey Radio Show.  He co-anchored PIX11's five-hour live inauguration coverage with Jim Watkins and Kaity Tong.

Nick is a contributor to Donklephant.com, one of the most influential political blogs on the web, and  has written for US News & World Report, The Star-Ledger, Real Simple Magazine and RealSimple.com.  Nick has been quoted in over two dozen stories on politics, the presidency, and public relations.  In December of 2007, Nick was named one of PR Week's 40 under 40 to watch, and in May of 2008 was featured in "Profiles of Success", a book about public relations. Nick lives in Jersey City, NJ, with his wife and two children, and spends what little free time he has obsessing on the Mets.

Nick can also be found on Facebook. http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=740817853


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« Five Questions for NY1's Pat Kiernan | Main | God's team: 1 ... Universe: 0 »
Tuesday
Apr072009

WSJ no longer taking embargoes

Some breaking news from the WSJ ... evidently, they're no longer accepting embargoed stories, or so whispers a little birdy over there. 

For you non-PR types, you can stop caring reading now.  For the rest of you, this is a big, big deal.  Not sure why they've changed their policy, but it's probably going to reduce the number (and quality) of exclusive that they break.

It's weird ... hard to figure out.  My source tells me that they won't take any embargoed information without prior approval of a deputy managing editor.  Which, from what I gather, means they won't be taking them ever.  Bummer.

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Reader Comments (95)

Damn... We had worked with them on a few stories for clients on that basis. Nick, does that affect the Dow Jones wire too?

April 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterBill Borden

good question on DJ ... I'm not sure, but hopefully not.

April 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterNick Ragone

Nick, please share as you learn anything more, especially if this extends to Dow Jones etc. In the last few weeks, I've been in touch with a couple of folks who are transitioning to new beats...lots of change going on.

April 7, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterstacey brucia

I'm not surprised. In theory, an embargo sounds like the perfect win/win for both parties. The media gets the scopp and the company can rest at night knowing the cat won't get out of the bag. Problem is, online media has built an empire on letting the cat out the bag before the traditional "goes to print" the next day. But it's not only traditional media that's feeling the burn from embargoes. Michael Arrington of Tech Crunch stated a few months back that he would not respect embargo dates anymore. For big outlets like WSJ and Tech Crunch, they can do this because they know we need them more than they need us. There are thousands of companies that are trying to reach the audience of those outlets and they know they will still get an exclusive sans embargo (because they know we have nowhere else to go but them.)

I'm Robert MacMillan. I report for Reuters. I am speaking for myself and not for the company I work for.

When you accept an embargo, you don't get a scoop. At best, you get parity. That's the reason reporters like me grudgingly honor embargoes. You also don't offer your readers much value if everyone else is reporting the same news. If this news is true, that is why the WSJ is no longer going to honor embargoes.

Why would it? It needs to make money. It wants to get exclusives that people will pay for. Knowing as many flacks as I do, I suspect that what the WSJ will get is a bunch of you guys offering lots of exclusive news to the WSJ.

You may offer it to a Reuters or Bloomberg or AP, but you know that if you get it in the WSJ, you will make your client happier. The WSJ will say "yes" to the most important news and let the small stuff go.

You will then offer the small stuff to the other news outlets as exclusives or as embargoes, but in reality, it's second-best news and you know it because the WSJ rejected it. The idea, as I've seen by reading plenty of your internal communications, is that operations like Reuters are understood to be less discriminating about what they'll run with. Therefore we would run your second-best news. You would conclude that everyone wins because the WSJ gets served, Reuters gets served and your client gets served.

But we don't get served that way and neither do our readers. I can't speak for my colleagues, but I can say for myself that my standards for what I'll run aren't that much different than the outlets your clients want to see their names in.

I must add that if the WSJ is really doing this, I'll always wonder when you approach me whether you got rejected by the WSJ and are bringing it to me because you think I'm content to rewrite your press release. I can also say that you would be incorrect to assume that I'm any less discriminating than my friends at the Journal.

The name of the game IS parity. You should respect good reporters at good news organizations as equally as you dare. At the very least, you shouldn't assume that news organizations just beneath the top of your client's list are any less discriminating than the ones at the top. Think about it before trying to land your next paradigm-shifting revolution solution at my desk. Meanwhile, I and others will be working to tell stories about your clients that they don't try to sell through flacks.

April 9, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRobert MacMillan

Very interesting POV, thank you Robert.

I guess my only point would be that I view "exclusives" and "embargoes" differently, I suppose. When I think of an exclusive, I think of something that is embargoed ONLY for that outlet, whether it's the WSJ, Reuters, the NYT or somewhere else. You may be giving an embargoed exclusive to that publication because you think they'll get deeper into the story if they're the only ones that have it.

As opposed to just a plain old embargo, which as you point out simply means "parity". As PR people, sometimes we do plain embargoes (we call them pre briefs), and sometimes we shoot for exclusive embargoes. It all depends on the story, the news, the desired goal, etc.

I think the WSJ policy of no longer doing embargoes means they'll lose out on the "parity embargoes", as well as the "exclusive embargoes" ... I'm not sure that was their original intention, but I think it could stand to benefit other organizations like Reuters, the NYT, etc, who will still honor exclusive embargoes.

April 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterNick Ragone

As opposed to just a plain old embargo, which as you point out simply means "parity". As PR people, sometimes we do plain embargoes (we call them pre briefs), and sometimes we shoot for exclusive embargoes. It all depends on the story, the news, the desired goal, etc.

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April 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterChristian Louboutin

must add that if the WSJ is really doing this, I'll always wonder when you approach me whether you got rejected by the WSJ and are bringing it to me because you think I'm content to rewrite your press release. I can also say that you would be incorrect to assume that I'm any less discriminating than my friends at the Journal.

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